This week, Tucson Wildlife Center would like to introduce you to five very gregarious Gambel’s quail … Jasper, Joshua, Jemma, June and July. Jasper and Joshua were non-releasable and have been resident sanctuary birds for several years. Jemma, June and July joined them this year and are awaiting approval from the Arizona Game & Fish Department to remain at TWC. Their stories have one thing in common … they all were imprinted by humans before being brought to the Center.
Unfortunately, we are seeing a rise in the number of well-meaning residents that find orphaned wildlife and delay calling TWC for instruction, thinking they can raise them in captivity. Not only is it illegal to rehabilitate or keep a wild animal without the appropriate license through the State of Arizona, but it also puts those animals at risk of becoming too familiar with people and missing out on learning natural behaviors.
For wild birds, this form of learning when they are young is called “imprinting,” and is crucial to their immediate and long-term survival. For precocial birds, such as these Gambel’s quail that are born ready to run, the process of imprinting begins shortly after hatching so that they can follow their parents to safety. If a young bird imprints on humans, it will identify with humans for life, and not with its own kind, making them unable to survive in the wild. Reversing the imprinting process is impossible.
For tips on what to do if you find an orphaned baby animal, refer to our website, https://tucsonwildlife.com/rescue-faq/. You can also call and speak to one of our wildlife intake specialists for advice on next steps.
If you would like to help patients like these Gambel’s quail, please click the donate button below:
Another way you can contribute is to visit our “wish list” on Amazon by clicking on the Amazon Wish List button below. We appreciate it, as will all the wild animals in our care!